Yesterday, a Destiny 2 player made the suggestion of a “weekly PvP chat” where Bungie talks with members of the community about the issues facing the mode and players given input on what can be changed.
In a perfect utopia, this sounds just fine, but in the real world, in the gaming industry that current exists, it’s hard to imagine such a thing happening without massive amounts of toxicity, and the conversation eventually led Bungie to confirm what’s been clear for a while now, that dev harassment has directly led to more strained communication between the studio and its fans, when previously, they might have been more open.
Community manager DMG had this to say about the current situation, which encompasses both the Destiny 2 community, but is also part of a larger industry trend:
“I dream of a day where videogame developers (from any studio) can openly discuss their work without being harassed. Many in the comments say they do not condone harassment. I hope they also stand against it when they find that friends or family are engaging in it.
Cases of harassment against our developers have actively made it harder for us to communicate with the broader community. It has impacted more studios than just ours. I hope that more folks can stand against this behavior in any community, whether it be gaming related or other.”
The straw that appears to have broken the camel’s back in Destiny’s case was a few weeks back when normally extremely chatty sandbox lead Kevin Yanes confirmed that Twilight Garrison, a Destiny 1 exotic, would never return with its Titan air dash. This led to a lot of anger and yes, outright harassment, which caused Yanes to leave Twitter, outside of sporadic retweets of political causes he cares about.
This was against the wider landscape of escalating dev harassment in lots of places, the most prominent story being women devs at Sony Santa Monica being sent explicit images because they were not yet sharing the release date of God of War Ragnarok, which caused the studio to issue a “don’t harass our employees” statement.
I’m unfortunately not sure what the ultimate answer is here, because I’ve been in the gaming community long enough to know that eradicating harassment, especially in a community millions large like Destiny’s, is a tall order. DMG is right in saying that community leaders should stand up against harassment, and I’ve seen them do just that, though those community leaders are themselves harassed by some of the same toxic people. It feels somewhat nihilistic to say, but I wonder if there’s any way to truly “solve” this.
At this point, I have to agree that certain conversations are simply destined to be too toxic to be productive, like some sort of weekly back and forth about the state of PvP, which includes probably the most hostile portions of the whole community. I very much enjoy interacting with Bungie devs on Twitter and elsewhere, but at this point it’s hard to blame them from shying away from it, as dealing with waves of angry players all day from one rogue word or one misinterpreted tweet is not part of their job description.
As ever, I can just say “be better,” though at this point, I do wonder who I’m able to reach here.
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